Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, on Friday approached the Supreme Court urging it to upturn the Wednesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified the recruitment of 10,000 constables carried out by him and the Nigeria Police Force in 2019.
The appellants filed their notice of appeal of three grounds together with an application for stay of execution of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
The three-man panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Olabisi Ige had unanimously held that the IGP and the NPF lacked the power to recruit the constables.
It held that it was the Police Service Commission that had the exclusive power to carry out the recruitment and nullified the one executed by the police.
But the IGP and the NPF through their lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), had written a letter dated October 2, 2020, to the Chairman of the PSC contending that no step could be taken to enforce the judgment after an appeal and the motion for injunction they had filed against the contested verdict of the Court of Appeal.
The letter which was copied the PSC’s lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), read in part, “In view of the above, and the settled position of the law having regards to these two notices nothing should be done by whatsoever means enforcing the judgment in the circumstances, especially having regards to the National Security and implication under any guise of such enforcement.”
The judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on September 30, 2020, had upturned the December 2, 2019, verdict of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had validated the power of the IGP to proceed with the recruitment of 10,000 constables he embarked upon in 2019.
But faulting the Court of Appeal’s judgment in their notice of appeal, the IGP and the NPF contended that the court “erred in law when they held that the provision of section 71 of the Nigeria Police Regulations 1968 made pursuant to section 46 of the Police Act is inconsistent with the provision of paragraph 30 Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution”.
They argued that section 71 of the Nigeria Police Regulations 1968 specifically conferred on the IGP “the power and responsibility of enlisting recruit constables”, while the provision of “Paragraph 30 Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution and section 6 of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, 2001, the 1st respondent is empowered to appoint persons to offices in the 1st appellant”.
The appellant’s lawyer added that the lower court “was on error in its findings that the provision of Section 71 of the Nigerian Police Regulations, 1968 made pursuant to Section 46 of the Police Act is inconsistent with the provision of paragraph 30 Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution”.
He also faulted the judgment on the grounds that the court erred in law when it held that the IGP and the NPF “are not conferred with powers to enlist recruit constables”
He also argued that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that the PSC was conferred with powers to enlist recruit constables into the NPF by virtue of the provision of paragraph 30 of Paragraph 30, Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
He added, “The unequivocal power conferred the 1st respondent by virtue of paragraph 30, Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution is the power ‘to appoint person into offices in the 1st applicant’ and not one for the enlistment of recruit constables as conferred on the 1st appellant.”
The appellants are therefore seeking an order of the Supreme Court setting aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on September 30, 2020, another dismissing the appeal filed by the PSC, and another affirming the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered by the Federal High Court on December 2, 2020.